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Ohio train derailment — updates: Trump plans East Palestine visit as water contamination fears grow

Ohio train derailment — updates: Trump plans East Palestine visit as water contamination fears grow

Video has emerged of an apparently heavily-contaminated creek in East Palestine, Ohio, two weeks after a freight train laden with toxic materials derailed and leaked into the community.

The clip, posted by tech blogger Nick Sortor on Thursday, is tagged in East Palestine. In the minute-long clip, a woman throws a heavy stone into the creek and when the ripples settle, large oily spots appear on the surface.

“It’s all in the bottom of the creekbed,” the woman says. The video has been viewed millions of times.

It is not clear what relation the creek has to the town’s drinking water supply. The US Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday: “In East Palestine, residents get their water from a few different sources – which are all actively being tested by the state and local governments, with EPA’s support.”

On 3rd February, around 50 rail cars of a Norfolk Southern train, some carrying hazardous materials, careened off the tracks in the small town. Clean-up crews subsequently carried out a controlled burn on flammable substances sending noxious clouds billowing across the area.

Key points

  • Lawsuit alleges Norfolk's clean up efforts 'made it worse'

  • Angry Ohio residents seek answers on train's toxic spill

  • Animals drop dead as ecological disaster unfolds

  • Watch: Devastating aftermath of Ohio train derailment revealed in shocking drone footage

  • Ohio train derailment fallout map

Erin Brockovich to visit East Palestine

22:12 , Andrea Blanco

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich will attend a town hall in East Palestine, Ohio, two weeks after a freight train laden with toxic materials derailed and leaked into the community.

Ms Brockovich announced her upcoming visit on Thursday through Twitter. The activist previously criticized the EPA and state lawmakers for telling people it was safe to return to their homes and at the same time, sending a legal notice to the rail operator over the threat of environmental contamination.

“This is why people don’t trust government,” she tweeted last week. “You cannot tell people that there has been and continues to be hazardous pollutants contaminating the environment while at the same time saying ‘all is well.’”

VOICES: I went home to report on the Ohio train derailment

21:29 , Andrea Blanco

“Like the rest of the country, I was shocked and morbidly fascinated by the towering pillar of black that rose above East Palestine in early February after a Norfolk Southern train derailed and officials chose to burn off the hazardous and highly flammable vinyl chloride gas it was carrying,” Graig Graziosi writes for The Independent.

Unlike the rest of the country, Graig was already very familiar with the tiny Ohio village — he spent many hours there in his early and late teens.

What he found was a deep - and justifiable - distrust.

I went home to report on the Ohio train derailment, and discovered a deep distrust

EPA administrator tells residents to ‘trust the government’

21:13 , Andrea Blanco

The head of the US Environmental Protection Agency got a first-hand look on Thursday at the toll left by a freight train derailment in Ohio, where toxic chemicals spilled or were burned off, leaving the stench of fresh paint nearly two weeks later.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan, who walked along a creek that still reeks of chemicals, sought to reassure skeptical residents that the water is fit for drinking and the air safe to breathe around East Palestine, where just under 5,000 people live near the Pennsylvania state line.

“I’m asking they trust the government. I know that’s hard. We know there’s a lack of trust,” Regan said. “We’re testing for everything that was on that train.”

The Ohio train derailment was ‘predicted’ by 2022 Netflix movie

19:53 , Andrea Blanco

Netflix viewers have drawn uncanny parallels between a recent film and the chemical spill that took place in Ohio earlier this month.

White Noise, starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig, was released on the Netflix late last year.

Adapted from the acclaimed 1985 novel by American writer Don DeLillo, the film follows a death-obsessed academic (Driver), and his family.

One of the biggest plot points in both the book and film concerns a train crash which release a huge cloud of toxic chemicals into the air, referred to somewhat euphemistically as the Airbourne Toxic Event.

Louis Chilton has the story.

Netflix movie White Noise ‘predicted’ train derailment in Ohio

The DC blame game begins over Ohio train derailment. Whose fault is it?

18:45 , Andrea Blanco

“The only way I can describe it is like the doors of hell were open.”

That’s how Mahoning County Hazmat chief Steve Szekely described the acrid cloud of black smoke in the aftermath of the 3 February train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, where around 50 cars, some of them carrying toxic chemicals, went sliding off the tracks.

That disaster has caused residents and local wildlife to suffer a variety of symptoms, and led to chaos in Washington DC, as officials have sought to pin the tragedy on one party or policy.

Read more of Josh Marcus’s report for The Independent below.

The DC blame game begins over Ohio train derailment. Whose fault is it?

‘I’m exhausted’: East Palestine residents on mental toll of living in the shadow of catastrophic train accident

18:14 , Andrea Blanco

Residents affected by the train derailment are still waiting for satisfactory answers. The Independent’s Graig Graziosi reports from East Palestine.

Many are sceptical about the rail company Norfolk Southern’s intentions, sceptical about what they’re being told by the Environmental Protection Agency, and sceptical of the state’s response.

Read the full story below.

Uncertainty weighs heavy on East Palestine after train derailment

At least 18 Norfolk Southern employees have died on job since 1991

17:26 , Andrea Blanco

At least 18 Norfolk Southern employees have died on the job since 1991, according to figures from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Railroad Workers Union.

The latest fatality was in December 2022 when trainee conductor Walter James Griffin III was killed and another conductor was seriously injured after being struck by a piece of metal from a passing train car in Bessemer, Alabama. The death is still under investigation.

In 2005, nine people including one Norfolk Southern engineer died and 250 people were injured from toxic chlorine exposure after two Norfolk Southern freight trains collided near Graniteville, South Carolina.

The fatalities were a result of chlorine searing the victims’ lungs. An NTSB accident report blamed the crash on the failure of one train crew to return a main line switch to the normal position after completing work on the track.

Ohio train derailment: Senator Sherrod Brown calls for state of emergency to be declared in East Palestine

16:40 , Andrea Blanco

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown has called on governor Mike DeWine to declare a state of emergency in East Palestine after a catastrophic derailment bled chemicals into the water, air and earth.

“A man-made disaster of this scale, scope, and significance necessitates a response and deployment of resources that are commensurate in scale and scope,” Mr Brown said in a statement.

Mr Brown said he was grateful to the state agencies who have responded to the “unprecedented disaster” on 3 February.

“But it’s critical we act quickly to supplement those efforts,” adding that additional federal resources would play a critical role in helping residents get back on their feet.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown calls for state of emergency in East Palestine

East Palestine residents complaint of rashes, headaches, and respiratory symptoms

16:02 , Andrea Blanco

Residents of East Palestine, Ohio, have shared their contamination fears after a freight train laden with toxic materials derailed and leaked into the community.

“When we went back on the 10th, that’s when we decided that we couldn’t raise our kids here,” Amanda Greathouse told CNN, adding that a smell reminiscent of “hair perming solution” was still lingering. “When we left, I had a rash on my skin on my arm, and my eyes were burning for a few days after that.”

Ms Greathouse told the network that she had felt nauseous when she returned to her house, just a block away from the site of the derailment.

“The chemical smell was so strong that it made me nauseous,” Ms Greathouse, a mother of two young children, added.

“I just wanted to quickly pick up what I needed and leave. I only took a few pieces of clothes because even the clothes smelled like chemicals, and I’m afraid to put them on my kids.”

FEMA to send help to East Palestine

14:55 , Andrea Blanco

Two weeks after a freight train laden with toxic materials derailed and leaked into East Palestine, Ohio, Governor Mike Dewine announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will send assistance to the community.

The White House has previously said that FEMA was closely coordinating with the emergency operation centers responding to the incident, but the agency had yet to announce a visit to East Palestine.

“Tomorrow, FEMA will supplement federal efforts by deploying a Senior Response Official along with a Regional Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to support ongoing operations, including incident coordination and ongoing assessments of potential long term recovery needs,” a joint statement by the Governor’s office and FEMA read.

Trump planning to visit East Palestine after train derailment

13:59 , Megan Sheets

Donald Trump is gearing up to visit East Palestine, Ohio, as it continues to grapple with the consequences of a train derailment earlier this month.

The former president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, announced the plans via Twitter on Friday night.

“Breaking News: Trump will visit East Palestine, Ohio next week,” he wrote. “If our “leaders” are too afraid to actually lead real leaders will step up and fill the void.”

Mr Trump appeared to confirm the report on Truth Social, writing: “Great people who need help, NOW!”

Fox News reported that Mr Trump will meet with East Palestine residents on Wednesday, almost three weeks after the 3 February derailment.

Trump planning to visit East Palestine after train derailment

13:58 , Megan Sheets

Donald Trump is gearing up to visit East Palestine, Ohio, as it continues to grapple with the consequences of a train derailment earlier this month.

The former president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, announced the plans via Twitter on Friday night.

“Breaking News: Trump will visit East Palestine, Ohio next week,” he wrote. “If our “leaders” are too afraid to actually lead real leaders will step up and fill the void.”

Mr Trump appeared to confirm the report on Truth Social, writing: “Great people who need help, NOW!”

Fox News reported that Mr Trump will meet with East Palestine residents on Wednesday, almost three weeks after the 3 February derailment.

East Palestine livestock owners race to protect their animals after train derailment

13:41 , Megan Sheets

The Independent’s Graig Graziosi reported on the ground in East Palestine this week, documenting residents’ growing fears of chemicals spilled into their community in the 3 February train derailment.

More than two weeks on from the catastrophe, he spoke to livestock owners about their frantic efforts to save their animals, including Sonia Early.

In the coming weeks — maybe months, maybe longer — they will be monitoring, Ms Early said. Monitoring her horses’ health, monitoring the water quality, monitoring her and her family’s well-being, and monitoring how the outside world views the village of East Palestine.

“Here’s our huge concern,” she said, “we had a company that was willing to lease out [the Early’s adjacent property]. Will anyone even want to come in and run a business now? They’re not going to want to buy homes, they’re not going to want to bring their business in to town. I have a five-year-old grandbaby and I’m scared to death.”

Read more:

East Palestine livestock owners race to protect their animals after train derailment

Clean-up carries on in East Palestine

13:00 , Louise Boyle

Clean-up operations are continuing in the waterways around the small Ohio town including this stream, pictured, in East Palestine Park.

Clean-up of local waterway in East Palestine following the train derailment (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Clean-up of local waterway in East Palestine following the train derailment (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Ohio Governor upset over Norfolk Southern’s no-show at town meeting

12:00 , Louise Boyle

Earlier this week, hundreds of people showed up at a public meeting to voice concerns following the East Palestine train derailment and get answers from not only state and local leaders but also railroad operator Norfolk Southern.

But representatives of the railroad were absent, saying they were worried about physical threats.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said on Friday that he was upset by the no-show and said Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw needs to go to East Palestine and answer questions.

At least five lawsuits have been filed against the railroad, and lawyers have been showing up in the area to offer advice and legal options.Associated Press

Anxious residents pour into town hall meeting following toxic train derailment

11:00 , Louise Boyle

Residents of East Palestine, Ohio, and the surrounding area line up outside for a town hall meeting at East Palestine High School on Wednesday (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Residents of East Palestine, Ohio, and the surrounding area line up outside for a town hall meeting at East Palestine High School on Wednesday (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
A woman raises her hand with a question during the town hall meeting (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
A woman raises her hand with a question during the town hall meeting (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Mapped: Where did the train carrying toxic chemicals crash in Ohio?

10:00 , Louise Boyle

Where did the train crash in Ohio?

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown responds to rail disaster

09:00 , Louise Boyle

“A man-made disaster of this scale, scope, and significance necessitates a response and deployment of resources that are commensurate in scale and scope,” Senator Sherrod Brown said in a statement.

Bevan Hurley reports.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown calls for state of emergency in East Palestine

Watch: EPA chief Michael S. Regan visits Ohio rail disaster site

08:00 , Louise Boyle

Clinic to open near Ohio derailment as health worries linger

07:00 , Louise Boyle

A plume of chemicals that spilled into the Ohio River after a fiery train derailment has broken up and is no longer a concern, Ohio’s governor said Friday. But worries remain near the disaster site among residents who have complained about lingering headaches and irritated eyes.

Despite repeated assurances that air and water testing has shown no signs of contaminants, some around East Palestine, along the Pennsylvania state line, are still skeptical and afraid to return to their homes.

Early next week, the state plans to open a medical clinic in the village to evaluate those who are worried and analyze their symptoms, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced. The clinic will include a team of experts in chemical exposures that is being deployed to eastern Ohio.

“These are very legitimate questions, and residents deserve an answer,” DeWine said while also emphasizing that testing inside and outside of homes in the village have no found no signs of toxins that were on the train.Associated Press

Watch: Hundreds of animals evacuated after Ohio train derailment

06:00 , Louise Boyle

Everything we know about the Ohio train derailment

04:59 , Louise Boyle

'Disgusting' rainbow-coloured slicks found near Ohio train derailment

04:30 , Vishwam Sankaran

Videos posted by several Twitter users, including by Republican senator JD Vance, revealed multi-coloured chemical slicks on the surface of small streams near the Ohio train derailment area in East Palestine.

“This is disgusting,” Mr Vance said in a video posted on Twitter.

The videos seemed to depict contamination of water bodies by vinyl chloride, according to John Senko, a professor of geosciences and biology at the University of Akron, USA Today reported.

“It looks like what’s happening is you got some of that stuff on the bottom of the creek, you stir it up a little bit, it starts to come up and then it’s just going to sink again. So that stuff’s behaving like I would expect vinyl chloride to behave,” Dr Senko said.

Anxious residents continue to seek answers

04:00 , Louise Boyle

A train horn sounds long and loud, shattering the quiet of East Palestine.

“It’s almost insulting,” says Vincent Greene, one of five lawyers visiting to offer advice to worried residents facing an emerging environmental and health catastrophe.

Only days have passed since a huge train derailment and subsequent venting of hazardous gas into the air, yet trains have restarted, once more carrying hazardous cargo through the middle of the small Ohio town.

For local people, a similar return to normality feels out of reach.

Much remains unknown about the dangers posed by the spilled chemicals, but many residents have complained of headaches and irritated eyes, and noted that chickens, fish and other wildlife have died off. Yet health officials insist this is a safe place to be.

Josh Marcus and Graig Graziosi report.

Inside the small town still seeking for answers after toxic train crash

Watch: Train carrying hazardous materials derails in Detroit

03:01 , Louise Boyle

Erin Brockovich announces visit to East Palestine

02:00 , Louise Boyle

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich announced on Friday that she would be making a visit to the town of East Palestine following the rail disaster.

Ms Brockovich, a former law clerk, successfully spearheaded a lawsuit against a major company on behalf of hundreds of people who had unknowingly been exposed to toxic waste in California.

Her story was made into a movie starring Julia Roberts.

Ms Brockovich announced to her nearly 238,000 Twitter followers that she was would be in the small Ohio town next Thursday for a town hall.

Pictured: The clean-up continues two weeks after rail disaster

01:00 , Louise Boyle

Workers fence off damaged railroad tank cars as cleanup continues on Friday in the aftermath of a Norfolk Southern freight train derailment.

Clean-up of crash in East Palestine (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Clean-up of crash in East Palestine (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

What is the EPA doing in East Palestine?

00:00 , Louise Boyle

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a list of its activities in the aftermath of the Ohio rail disaster.

Among its tasks, the agency reports that it is monitoring air quality for a wide range of compounds, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phosgene and hydrogen chloride.

It is also screening the indoor air monitoring of 500 homes under a voluntary screening program offered to residents.

“No detections of vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride were identified above levels of concern,” the agency said. However it is continuing to offer screening to residents within the evacuation zone.

‘I’m exhausted’

Friday 17 February 2023 23:00 , Louise Boyle

Residents affected by the train derailment are still waiting for satisfactory answers. Graig Graziosi reports from East Palestine.

Uncertainty weighs heavy on East Palestine after train derailment

Locals wait for financial aid in East Palestine

Friday 17 February 2023 22:00 , Louise Boyle

Neil Figley, 28, holds his daughter, Harlie, 4, as they wait in line at the Norfolk Southern Assistance Center to collect a $1000 check and get reimbursed for expenses while they were evacuated from East Palestine, Ohio on February 17, 2023

Locals wait for financial aid in East Palestine (Getty Images)
Locals wait for financial aid in East Palestine (Getty Images)

Biden administration sends additional resources to East Palestine

Friday 17 February 2023 21:30 , Louise Boyle

The Biden administration announced on Friday that it was sending additional federal resources to support East Palestine, Ohio following the train derailment disaster.

Segments of a Norfolk Southern freight train careened off the track on 3rd February, leaking toxic chemicals into the ground, water and air.

Now, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is deploying a team of medical personnel and toxicologists to conduct public health testing and assessments, in order to support the state and local officials already on the ground.

The team will evaluate individuals who were exposed or potentially exposed to chemicals and help ensure timely communications to the public, a White House statement read. “As President Biden told Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro soon after the derailment, the Federal Government stands ready to provide any additional federal assistance the states may need,” it read.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting the people of East Palestine every step of the way, and holding Norfolk Southern accountable.”

Video posted online of apparently heavily-contaminated creek in East Palestine

Friday 17 February 2023 21:12 , Louise Boyle

Video has emerged of an apparently heavily-contaminated creek in East Palestine, Ohio, two weeks after a freight train laden with toxic materials derailed and leaked into the community.

The clip, posted by tech blogger Nick Sortor on Thursday, is tagged in East Palestine. In the minute-long clip, a woman throws a heavy stone into the creek and when the ripples settle, large oily spots appear on the surface.

“It’s all in the bottom of the creekbed,” the woman says. The video has been viewed millions of times.

It is not clear what relation the creek has to the town’s drinking water supply. The US Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday: “In East Palestine, residents get their water from a few different sources – which are all actively being tested by the state and local governments, with EPA’s support.”

Findings on deadly truck accident after hazardous materials spill

Friday 17 February 2023 19:42 , Louise Boyle

The deadly truck accident this week that caused a hazardous materials spill southeast of downtown Tucson this week did not appear to be caused by high speed, drugs or alcohol, Arizona Department of Public Safety officials said Thursday.

The authorities said at a news conference that truck driver Ricky Immel, 54, was traveling from his home state of Nevada to Alabama with a load of packages of liquid nitric acid Tuesday afternoon when his vehicle left the roadway and flipped onto the left side, then into the median. Immel was later declared dead at the scene.

The cause of the accident and Immel’s death are under investigation.

Immel was traveling with his service dog, which will be reunited with his wife, said officials, who did not say what type of assistance the animal was trained for.

The main freeway in southern Arizona reopened in both directions Wednesday evening, and officials said people living in the area could safely return to their homes or go outside a day after the crash sent acrid red and yellow plumes into the desert sky and evacuation and shelter-in-place orders were issued.Associated Press

Monitoring continues in East Palestine

Friday 17 February 2023 19:15 , Louise Boyle

An air quality monitor hangs on a stop sign near the site of a train derailment prompting health concerns on February 17, 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio.

An air quality monitor hangs on a stop sign (Michael Swensen/Getty Images)
An air quality monitor hangs on a stop sign (Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

Fact-check on misinformation surrounding Ohio train derailment

Friday 17 February 2023 18:50 , Louise Boyle

The Associated Press fact-checked two of the most prevalent but untrue stories and images circulating online about the East Palestine train derailment.

These included an Ohio River map which distorted the contamination area, and a video of a cloud from Oregon misrepresented as the aftermath of the train crash.

Read more at the AP link here.

Watch: Drone captures footage of devastating aftermath of Ohio train derailment

Friday 17 February 2023 18:35 , Louise Boyle

Trump silent on Ohio toxic train derailment after lawmakers descend into blame game

Friday 17 February 2023 18:15 , Louise Boyle

Trump silent on Ohio toxic train derailment after lawmakers descend into blame game

How many US train derailments have there been in 2023?

Friday 17 February 2023 17:50 , Louise Boyle

The East Palestine train derailment has raised questions over the safety of the US rail network - particularly when it comes to large freight carriers hauling hazardous materials.

How many train derailments have there been so far in 2023?

The Independent’s Joe Sommerlad has the answers.

How many train derailments have there been in the US in 2023?

Chair of National Transportation Safety Board pleads with people to stop spreading misinformation

Friday 17 February 2023 17:31 , Louise Boyle

Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has pleaded with people to stop spreading misinformation about the East Palestine train derailment.

In a lengthy Twitter thread posted on Thursday, she wrote: “Anyone speculating about what happened, didn’t happen, or should’ve happened is misleading a suffering community – PLEASE STOP SPREADING MISINFORMATION.”

You can read her remarks in full below.

‘We continue to test and monitor’ says Ohio governor during press conference on East Palestine

Friday 17 February 2023 16:50 , Louise Boyle

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a press conference on Friday morning to reassure those living near the East Palestine train derailment, saying that testing and monitoring would continue.

He also suggested that a presidential committee or congressional hearings may be appropriate to “shine a spotlight on our railroads”.

Watch the press conference in full below.

Criminal charges dropped against reporter

Friday 17 February 2023 16:17 , Louise Boyle

Criminal charges against a NewsNation reporter who was arrested while covering the toxic train derailment in East Palestine have been dropped, the Ohio Attorney General announced this week.

Evan Lambert was charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest while trying to record a live broadcast during a press conference of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on 8 February.

Bodycam footage showed two highway patrol officers confront Mr Lambert for being too loud, and then push him to the ground.

Read more from Bevan Hurley’s report below.

Charges dismissed for reporter arrested while covering train derailment

The DC blame game begins over Ohio train derailment. Whose fault is it?

Friday 17 February 2023 15:50 , Louise Boyle

“The only way I can describe it is like the doors of hell were open.”

That’s how Mahoning County Hazmat chief Steve Szekely described the acrid cloud of black smoke in the aftermath of the 3 February train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, where around 50 cars, some of them carrying toxic chemicals, went sliding off the tracks.

That disaster has caused residents and local wildlife to suffer a variety of symptoms, and led to chaos in Washington DC, as officials have sought to pin the tragedy on one party or policy.

Read more of Josh Marcus’s report for The Independent below.

The DC blame game begins over Ohio train derailment. Whose fault is it?

No hazardous materials spill in Michigan train derailment

Friday 17 February 2023 15:24 , Louise Boyle

A train hauling hazardous materials derailed Thursday near Detroit, but none spilled, officials said.

The Norfolk Southern train derailed nearly two weeks after a Norfolk Southern derailment in Ohio left a mangled and charred mass of boxcars that had been carrying various hazardous chemicals.

Video recorded of the Thursday derailment in Van Buren Township, Michigan, showed that more than a half-dozen cars derailed, some of them left sideways across the tracks.

A freight train carrying toxic material derailed near Van Buren Township, Michigan, on Thursday (WJBK)
A freight train carrying toxic material derailed near Van Buren Township, Michigan, on Thursday (WJBK)

The derailment just before 9am. west of Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport left the tracks damaged and wheels disconnected from some rail cars.

Police said there were no reported injuries and no evidence that hazardous materials were exposed in the derailment.

Authorities urged drivers and residents to avoid the area while they investigated. Several roads were temporarily closed by the derailment.

The Associated Press

Fear and scepticism abound in East Palestine

Friday 17 February 2023 15:05 , Louise Boyle

Residents affected by the train derailment are still waiting for satisfactory answers. The Independent’s Graig Graziosi reports from East Palestine.

Many are sceptical about the rail company Norfolk Southern’s intentions, sceptical about what they’re being told by the Environmental Protection Agency, and sceptical of the state’s response.

Read the full story below.

Uncertainty weighs heavy on East Palestine after train derailment

‘Trust the government,’ says EPA boss

Friday 17 February 2023 14:40 , Louise Boyle

The head of the US Environmental Protection Agency got a first-hand look on Thursday at the toll left by a freight train derailment in Ohio, where toxic chemicals spilled or were burned off, leaving the stench of fresh paint nearly two weeks later.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan, who walked along a creek that still reeks of chemicals, sought to reassure skeptical residents that the water is fit for drinking and the air safe to breathe around East Palestine, where just under 5,000 people live near the Pennsylvania state line.

“I’m asking they trust the government. I know that’s hard. We know there’s a lack of trust,” Regan said. “We’re testing for everything that was on that train.”

Associated Press

East Palestine residents reveal mental toll of living in the shadow of catastrophic train accident

Friday 17 February 2023 14:00 , Rachel Sharp

The rattling of windows was a common occurrence in Eric Cozza’s East Palestine home. Anytime the Norfolk Southern trains came rumbling down the tracks less than half a mile from his home, the glass wobbled.

On the night of the Ohio train derailment, he felt far more than a rattle.

“I felt the foundations shaking,” he said, standing on his front porch nearly two weeks after a train carrying vinyl chloride and other hazardous chemicals derailed within walking distance of his home.

He was immediately forced to evacuate, but finding lodging for himself, his two large dogs, and the rest of his family — a total of seven — was no easy task. After being turned away from a hotel charging $200 a night, he managed to find cheaper accommodations in nearby Lisbon thanks to a friend who worked on the staff.

Once it was clear the train cars carrying highly flammable vinyl chloride weren’t going to explode and consume his home in a toxic fireball, he and his family returned.

Since then he — and the rest of the village — have been left with few satisfying answers.

The Independent’s Graig Graziosi reports from on the ground in East Palestine:

Uncertainty weighs heavy on East Palestine after train derailment

At least 18 Norfolk Southern employees have died on job since 1991

Friday 17 February 2023 13:30 , Rachel Sharp

At least 18 Norfolk Southern employees have died on the job since 1991, according to figures from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Railroad Workers Union.

The latest fatality was in December 2022 when trainee conductor Walter James Griffin III was killed and another conductor was seriously injured after being struck by a piece of metal from a passing train car in Bessemer, Alabama. The death is still under investigation.

In 2005, nine people including one Norfolk Southern engineer died and 250 people were injured from toxic chlorine exposure after two Norfolk Southern freight trains collided near Graniteville, South Carolina.

The fatalities were a result of chlorine searing the victims’ lungs. An NTSB accident report blamed the crash on the failure of one train crew to return a main line switch to the normal position after completing work on the track.

Couple and toddler diagnosed with respiratory infections

Friday 17 February 2023 13:00 , Bevan Hurley

A couple and their three-year-old child are suffering from upper respiratory infections in the wake of the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

Local residents, Chris and Jamie Wallace, and their toddler, went to hospital with breathing issues which they said developed after the train crash.

“I knew something was different when we left town and there was that chemical smell in your nose, as if you were in the bathroom cleaning with bleach and you walk out and you still smell that bleach in your nose,” Jamie Wallace told NewsNation.

Louise Boyle has the story.

Ohio toxic train derailment: Couple and toddler diagnosed with respiratory infections

Norfolk Southern had history of safety failures before Ohio derailment

Friday 17 February 2023 12:30 , Rachel Sharp

The rail company behind the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, had a history of safety failures long before the 3 February disaster, The Independent can reveal.

Norfolk Southern has a checkered past of deadly accidents and silencing whistleblowers, and was lambasted for safety failures last year after it authorised $10bn stock buybacks for shareholders rather than maintenance.

It has also emerged that the freight train – which derailed in East Palestine while carrying toxic chemicals – had broken down just two days earlier.

The accident, according to rail unions, was “years in the making” and locals now fearful of the health implications are demanding answers.

The Independent’s Bevan Hurley and Louise Boyle have more:

The controversial company behind Ohio’s toxic train disaster

All we know about affected areas and a cancer-causing chemical

Friday 17 February 2023 12:00 , Bevan Hurley

A dark pillar of smoke rose above East Palestine, Ohio, in early February, prompting a mandatory evacuation of the village’s residents. A Norfolk Southern train carrying numerous hazardous chemicals had suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure, resulting in a derailment. Officials feared the flammable chemicals might ignite in a massive blast of shrapnel and poison, and elected to vent and burn the contents of the traincars to mitigate the potential for further destruction.

More than a week after the Ohio train derailment, information is still trickling out about what exactly happened and what risk the 5,000 residents of East Palestine — and the millions in the surrounding region — may face as a result of the crash.

Here’s everything we know about the train derailment, its causes, and what effect it has — and may have — on the people and the environment.

Train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio: Everything we know

What chemicals were spilled and how toxic are they?

Friday 17 February 2023 11:00 , Bevan Hurley

Some of the rail tankers that derailed in East Palestine on 3 February contained vinyl chloride.

Crews carried out a controlled burn of the substance to prevent a blast but still sent noxious black clouds billowing across the region.

The fire released phosgene, a gas deployed as a chemical weapon in the First World War, which causes eye irritation, dry burning throat and vomiting.

Vinyl chloride, which is used to make plastic pipes, wires and packaging, is linked to increased risk of a rare form of liver cancer, hepatic angiosarcoma, along with primary liver cancer, brain and lung cancers, lymphoma and leukaemia, according to Cancer.gov.

Hydrogen chloride is released by burning vinyl chloride and also an irritant to the skin, nose, eyes and throat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Independent’s Joe Sommerlad has the story.

What chemicals were spilled in the Ohio train derailment and how toxic are they?

Their town is shrouded in toxic chemicals — but the people of East Palestine still can’t get answers

Friday 17 February 2023 10:00 , Bevan Hurley

Graig Graziosi reports from East Palestine as residents gather at a town meeting - only to leave with more questions than answers on their fears of catastrophic chemicals.

Ohio left with more questions after East Palestine train derailment meeting

East Palestine residents launch wave of class action lawsuits against Norfolk Southern

Friday 17 February 2023 09:00 , Bevan Hurley

Residents of the Ohio town of East Palestine filed a class action lawsuitagainst railway company Norfolk Southern on Wednesday, the latest in a wave of litigation the public company is facing over the disastrous 3 February derailment.

The latest lawsuit alleges that efforts by the company and local and state authorities to clean up after the crash actually worsened the situation, and demands punitive damages and medical monitoring.

The case filed by law firm Morgan & Morgan demands punitive damages and medical monitoring, alleging authorities “purportedly blew holes in the cars containing vinyl chloride, dumping 1.1 million pounds (500,000kgs) of vinyl chloride” into the area.

Full story below.

East Palestine residents file wave of class action lawsuits against Norfolk Southern

Ohio train derailment ‘predicted’ by 2022 Netflix movie

Friday 17 February 2023 08:00 , Bevan Hurley

Netflix viewers have drawn uncanny parallels between a recent film and the chemical spill that took place in Ohio earlier this month.

White Noise, starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig, was released on the Netflix late last year.

Adapted from the acclaimed 1985 novel by American writer Don DeLillo, the film follows a death-obsessed academic (Driver), and his family.

One of the biggest plot points in both the book and film concerns a train crash which release a huge cloud of toxic chemicals into the air, referred to somewhat euphemistically as the Airbourne Toxic Event.

Louis Chilton has the story.

Netflix movie White Noise ‘predicted’ train derailment in Ohio

Their town is shrouded in toxic chemicals — but the people of East Palestine still can’t get answers

Friday 17 February 2023 07:00 , Bevan Hurley

Graig Graziosi reports from East Palestine as residents gather at a town meeting - only to leave with more questions than answers on their fears of catastrophic chemicals.

Ohio left with more questions after East Palestine train derailment meeting

Dead animals and reports of sickness as ecological disaster unfolds after Ohio toxic train derailment

Friday 17 February 2023 06:00 , Bevan Hurley

The ecological fallout from the derailment of a freight traincarrying toxic materials in rural Ohio is still being determined days after the disaster.

Around 50 train cars derailed on 3rd February in the small town of East Palestine including 20 cars carrying hazardous substances.

No one was killed after a broken axle sent the Norfolk Southern train careening off the tracks, investigators said. More than 2,000 residents were evacuated due to health concerns over the chemical leak but have since been allowed to return.

Some of the crashed cars were carrying toxic chemicals - vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, ethylhexyl acrylate, and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether - which were released into the air, surface soils, and surface waters.

The Independent’s Senior Climate Correspondent Louise Boyle reports.

Dead animals and reports of sickness after Ohio train derailment in East Palestine

All we know about affected areas and a cancer-causing chemical

Friday 17 February 2023 05:00 , Bevan Hurley

A dark pillar of smoke rose above East Palestine, Ohio, in early February, prompting a mandatory evacuation of the village’s residents. A Norfolk Southern train carrying numerous hazardous chemicals had suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure, resulting in a derailment. Officials feared the flammable chemicals might ignite in a massive blast of shrapnel and poison, and elected to vent and burn the contents of the traincars to mitigate the potential for further destruction.

More than a week after the Ohio train derailment, information is still trickling out about what exactly happened and what risk the 5,000 residents of East Palestine — and the millions in the surrounding region — may face as a result of the crash.

Here’s everything we know about the train derailment, its causes, and what effect it has — and may have — on the people and the environment.

Train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio: Everything we know

Couple and toddler diagnosed with respiratory infections

Friday 17 February 2023 04:00 , Bevan Hurley

A couple and their three-year-old child are suffering from upper respiratory infections in the wake of the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

Local residents, Chris and Jamie Wallace, and their toddler, went to hospital with breathing issues which they said developed after the train crash.

“I knew something was different when we left town and there was that chemical smell in your nose, as if you were in the bathroom cleaning with bleach and you walk out and you still smell that bleach in your nose,” Jamie Wallace told NewsNation.

Louise Boyle has the story.

Ohio toxic train derailment: Couple and toddler diagnosed with respiratory infections

Where did the train carrying toxic chemicals crash in Ohio?

Friday 17 February 2023 03:00 , Bevan Hurley

East Palestine is situated in Columbiana County, right on the edge of Ohio’s border with Pennsylvania.

EPA Administrator visits East Palestine crash site

Friday 17 February 2023 02:00 , Bevan Hurley

Michael Regan, the EPA Administrator, travelled to East Palestine on Thursday where he visited the site of the catastrophic Norfolk Southern derailment.

Mr Regan tweeted that the “terrible incident that has rightfully shaken this community to its core”.

“But I want residents to know: @EPA will be here as long as it takes the ensure the health and safety of this community.”